As Amazon seeks incentives from cities and states for its second headquarters, H2Q, worker advocates argue that there is a need for accountability when public money is at stake.
Two recent deaths within a week at Amazon warehouses in Pennsylvania and Indiana show the need for strict accountability in exchange for public subsidies, say workplace safety and economic development experts.
Devan Michael Shoemaker, age 28, was killed on Sept. 19 when he was run over by a truck at an Amazon warehouse in Carlisle, Pa. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, he was trying to loosen the kingpin between a truck and its trailer when he was run over by the truck driver, according to new details released by Pennsylvania State Police. The plan was to move the truck slightly in order for Shoemaker to grease the connection between the kingpin, which is under the trailer, and a hitch at the back of the truck. Shoemaker was crushed by the truck.
Phillip Terry, 59, was killed on Sept. 24, when his head was crushed by a forklift at an Amazon warehouse in Plainfield, Ind.
Amazon released a statement following Terry’s death that said, “Our thoughts are with our associate’s family and
loved ones during this very difficult time. Safety is our number one priority, and as we do with any incident like this, we will be reviewing our practices and protocols to ensure the well-being of our employees.”
OSHA is investigating both incidents. Including the recent deaths of Shoemaker and Terry, five workers have died in Amazon warehouses since 2013 due to workplace incidents. OSHA has cited the company and temporary agencies it uses to staff its facilities for safety violations.
“Getting consumer goods dropped right on your doorstep is…